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EJ Koh@thisisEJKoh 6 Jan 2014

You study, study, study, and at the end, you are lucky enough to discover the greatest gift of education: that you know nothing at all.


This quote- found on Twitter- inspires me. I love to study. I think education is the way out of many of life’s dilemmas. And-I love books. Recently after reading Marie Kondo’s book- ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up ‘. I was doing a fine job of clearing out clothing and shoes. I was even good with getting rid of home décor items, no longer used, no longer wanted, no longer beautiful to me. Then I was directed to clear out books and magazines.

I have an entire wall of books floor to ceiling. Marie Kondo says to bring every book into the same room, then take every book off the shelves, put them on the floor and go through them. Touch each book to see if you feel anything- if any of the books ‘spark joy’. If they don’t? Discard. Honestly I did find some that I no longer need or want, but not many. I went back to the book and re-read her instructions. Ms. Kondo says, no one needs that many books. True. But what I had missed was this- ‘only scholars and authors’. What a relief! I am certainly not fully in either category, certainly not at the level of EJ Koh, Korean poet and translator!

However, Ms. Kondo’s test beyond keeping or discarding is this: keep only the ones that ‘spark joy’ or that you re-read. It is amazing how many I re-read.  I am a lifelong learner. If I am interested in a subject – I study up on it . I am educated but I don’t have the degrees of an educator, unfortunately.

Nowadays, with search engines- anyone, scholars or humble learners like me, can quickly reference any subject known to mankind. Yet with all of my reading and the joy it brings, I have come to the same conclusion as EJ Koh- The greatest gift of education is the knowledge that I know nothing at all.

What I know for sure, is from the oft repeated phrase:

‘We are human beings, not human doings.’

What we do with our lives is not even half as important as what we become.


Love y’all, Camellia

Product Details

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

*This post is for Day 7 of Everyday Inspiration- WordPress Blogging University

And this song speaks to the heart and soul of this post! By Alison Krauss- ‘You Say it Best, When You Say Nothing at All’…

Alabama the Beautiful…

“Just look at those clouds. Sometimes Alabama just breaks my heart – it’s so pretty, it just breaks my heart into little pieces.”    Honora DeChavannes from Michael Lee West’s book- ‘Mermaids in the Basement’….  “Just look at those clouds… it’s so pretty…it breaks my heart into little pieces…” No truer words were spoken- Enjoy…

 

It bears repeating:  “Just look at those clouds. Sometimes Alabama just breaks my heart- it’s so pretty, it just breaks my heart into little pieces.”

‘Mermaids in the Basement’ by Michael Lee West, set in the Gulf Coast area of Alabama- is a delightful book, a great beach read!

 Alabama is heartbreakingly beautiful! She has earned the title – ‘Alabama the Beautiful’ . If you’re dreaming of a beach vacation- well, I guess you know where my heart is…

Love y’all, Camellia

Jeremy Miniard* took these photographs just last week of the Gulf Coast and Mobile Bay.

‘Mermaids in the Basement’ is available on Amazon.com

 ‘Alabama the Beautiful’ books- Amazon.com

*all rights reserved on Jeremy Miniard photographs

New Library!

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all sit down with our favorite authors like this fellow is doing?


My  six year old sister taught me to read when I was four years old; she was in first grade!  It opened up a world for me that never tires me; never bores me. I am thrilled to see children who love books. A Reading Coach told me that even if a child cannot read the words in a book, yet is making up a story based on the pictures, that is ‘reading’. It is never too soon to introduce children to books!

To love books, to read books, to be a giver of books are all wonderful things- however, we must never allow public libraries to go out of style. In our small town, we’ve had a vibrant little library, with a wonderful Library Board and ever active Library Guild- they’ve been working so hard these last few years to get a bigger and better space- The ribbon cutting was today! Congratulations! Here’s a sneak preview of the Children’s Section…isn’t it great?

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This summer visit your local library, take a friend, your child or grandchild- there are often wonderful programs that enrich lives. We must support our local libraries- it was a good idea when the first public library opened it’s doors before the American Revolution in 1731 and a good idea to this very day. Who knows whether a budding scientist, writer, teacher or engineer may be reading books right beside you ? Books may be inspiring dreams and launching tiny astronauts into to a future we will not see…

Love y’all, Camellia

Top 100 childrens books on Amazon – Affiliate Link- give a book to your local library today!

Thanks to my inspiring friend, Paula, who shared these wonderful photographs of our new library! The top photo was taken on Canyon Road in Santa Fe New Mexico several years ago.

Book Review…

 

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This Memorial Day if you are looking for a book to read- I can wholeheartedly recommend Pulitzer Prize Winning novel- ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr. If you are a history buff and are looking for a way to honor the servicemen in your life; or those you have loved and lost; even folks whose lives are impacted by circumstances beyond their control- who soldier on despite limitations and live inquisitive lives in dire situations- this book is for you.

The way an author strings together words into images fascinates me as a reader. ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ – is masterful! The author spent 10 years writing it; and what the readers receive from Doerr’s masterful art- is amazing. The sentences are like photographs. They are formed using just the words needed to convey one of the most beautiful, heart rending, historically valuable books I have ever read. That is saying a lot since I have read dozens of books just this year. If you are looking for a book that will forever remain in your Top 10, this is it. It is not a light beach read- yet would be perfect at the beach since the chapters are spare, short and concise. The writing is so beautifully rendered- savor it, be absorbed in the content. The New York Times 10 Best Books in 2014, puts me behind a few years in reading it, however- I will be forever grateful that it has passed through my heart, mind and hands.

Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting For Stone reviews All the Light We Cannot See in this way- “This jewel of a story is put together like a vintage timepiece, its many threads coming together so perfectly. Doerr’s writing and imagery are stunning. It’s been a while since a novel had me under its spell in this fashion.”

I share his sentiment- and would add that even though the book deals with harsh realities of war and life- Anthony Doerr’s book does not rely on coarse and common language to convey hard times. I believe the author could take a common fork or spoon and elevate it to an object of great importance. It is not a romance novel- yet you, the reader will be romanced by it. Let me share a few sentences with you-

Imagine being a blind girl, you are alone in a house, in a city which is being bombed-

  •  ‘A stone drops into her palm. It’s cold. The size of a pigeon’s egg. The shape of a teardrop.’

A young orphaned boy listening to a ragtag radio finding a broadcast far away, which will forever change his prospective:

  • The brain is locked in total darkness…It floats in clear liquid inside the skull, never in the light. And yet the world it constructs in the mind is full of light. It brims with color and movement. So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?’….

And this line – in the same broadcast the child is listening to- becomes a question he returns to often as the novel progresses-

  • Open your eyes, concludes the man, and see what you can with them before they close forever.’

Doerr uses phrases like ‘the sleet fell like silver strings’- ‘Doubts: slipping like eels.’ ‘Everywhere mussels click and sigh…Galaxies of snails. A story of life immanent in each.’ ‘Statues smile down from ledges like kindly godparents.’

I hope I have whetted your appetite to read this book, ‘All the Light We Cannot See’.  It is unforgettable. I hope you will agree, let me know! For those of you who are wondering if my ‘war’ with mosquitos has been won? It appears, at least for now, that they’ve waved the white flag of surrender in this month’s battle! Have a wonderful weekend!

Love y’all, Camellia

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr- http://amzn.to/1ORJIR0

Earth Day…

There was a time when glass bottles were saved, returned or reused. The earth was better for it. My extremely talented friends, Steve and Sally Smith are helping our earth by repurposing and photographing reclaimed glass and other found objects. Steve uses old glass as his medium to create everything from wind chimes to major art pieces. His wife Sally takes astounding photographs! Sally sent me these photographs of old glass bottles which had me thinking of the individual beauty in each single photograph, yet what would happen if they were clustered together in a collage?

There are messages in these bottles of long ago. When were they made and why, what were they used for and further were they collected or saved? This collage of old bottles has an haunting beauty, which to me proves the truth of what Henry David Thoreau said –

‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.’

Steve and Sally Smith of Camp Creek Creations exhibit their beautiful work near and far. This weekend they will be at the Magic City Art Show in Birmingham, Alabama. If you can’t make it, please visit their website – http://www.CampCreekCreations.com or follow them on Facebook.  And while you’re at it, take a look at Sally’s book- called ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’-imageBefore Earth Day draws to a close, let us be thankful for the beauty of the earth, and like Sally and Steve, do our part to keep it beautiful for generations to come.

Love y’all, Camellia